OPSEU/SEFPO members working at the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO) will now receive paid sick leave if they test positive for COVID-19 and must quarantine.
“Giving front-line workers paid sick leave for their COVID-19 absences is just the fair thing to do,” said OPSEU/SEFPO President Warren (Smokey) Thomas. “No worker should have to suffer loss of pay because of contracting this virus; especially when they’ve been putting their health at risk every day to keep our essential services like the LCBO going.”
As stated in the December 18 memorandum of agreement between the LCBO and OPSEU/SEFPO, the LCBO will provide “top up” pay to all workers who do not have sufficient sick-leave credits or who do not have access to sick-leave credits. This will ensure that there will be no loss of pay to workers who have to stay off the job during their quarantine.
“Ensuring that workers don’t lose pay for COVID-19 sick leave supports both the safety of workers and the safety of the public,” said OPSEU/SEFPO First Vice-President/Treasurer Eduardo (Eddy) Almeida. “Removing this additional barrier to testing and isolating is a responsible step forward by the LCBO.”
Below is the full text of the Memorandum of Agreement:
Memorandum of Agreement
Liquor Control Board of Ontario (the “LCBO”)
The Ontario Public Service Employees Union (“OPSEU” or the “Union”)
Whereas the Province of Ontario is continuing to experience and address matters related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
And Whereas the LCBO and OPSEU (collectively referred to hereinafter as the “Parties”) acknowledge that the Province of Ontario has made testing available to employees of the Ontario Public Service (OPS);
And Whereas the Parties, including the OPS, signed a Memorandum of Agreement dated May 25, 2020 recognizing the importance and necessity of testing employees for COVID-19 as a measure to enhance the health and safety of OPS and the citizens of Ontario;
Now Therefore, the Parties agree, without precedent or prejudice, to the following terms and conditions:
- The Parties agree that LCBO bargaining unit employees who get tested for COVID-19 and receive a positive COVID-19 diagnosis may be eligible for paid leave once the employee notifies the LCBO and provides confirmation of their diagnosis as soon as reasonably possible. The employee will not be eligible for paid leave until the LCBO receives confirmation.
- The Parties agree that, for the period of 14 days starting from the date of the positive test (“self-isolation period”):
i. Employees will be required to use attendance credits, as applicable, and to the extent that these are available, to cover their absence.
ii To the extent that the use of attendance credits results in the employee receiving less income than they would receive based on hours of work they would have been scheduled, the Employer will provide additional “top up” payments that ensures that the employee maintains the income they would receive based on regular attendance and there will be no compensation for additional or premium payments they may have received (e.g. overtime).
iii. An employee who does not have access to attendance credits under the collective agreement shall receive the “top up” payment referred to above as a total of all hours the employee would have normally been scheduled during the 14-day period (“self-isolation period”).
iv. Where an arrangement or practice is already in place that provides a greater benefit then listed above such arrangement shall continue. For clarity, if the LCBO is already paying an employee during the “self- isolation period” without deduction from any credits such arrangement shall continue.
v. The “self-isolation period” will be considered time worked for the purposes of seniority and will be calculated based on the employee’s regularly scheduled or otherwise normal hours of work.
- The Parties agree that, to the extent that workplace arrangements and an employee’s medical condition allow for it, an employee can be directed to carry out work during the period of self-isolation so long as the restrictions associated with self-isolation are maintained.
- The Parties recognize that employees may be directed into self-isolation by public health authorities without a positive test for COVID-19, such as due to exposure to a known case. Other statutory and/or collective agreement provisions may apply to such employees, and this agreement will not apply in those circumstances.
- The Parties agree that the results of any COVID-19 testing will be treated as personal health information and, as such, will be shared only with the individual employee and any records will be maintained confidentially. Notwithstanding the above, the Parties recognize that the LCBO may be obligated to disclose personal information about impacted employees to other government entities as a result of their positive diagnosis for COVID-19, including Public Health Ontario.
- Notwithstanding Paragraph 5 above, the parties recognize that it is the LCBO’s right to publicly disclose a positive finding of COVID-19 in the workplace without the identification of individuals, and this does not constitute confidential information.
- The Parties will discuss disputes arising from this agreement at PLMC for an expedited resolution of any grievances. Any unresolved disputes concerning the interpretation or application of this Memorandum of Agreement may be addressed through grievances in accordance with the respective collective agreement.
- This agreement will be effective date of signing and will continue to be in effect until June 30, 2021. The agreement may be extended by the parties upon mutual agreement.
Signed in Toronto this 18th day of December, 2020.